Thursday, 19 May 2011

Bordeaux 2010 tasting at our historic cellars...


By Matthew Hemming, Fine Wine Manager

Last week we hosted our annual Bordeaux en primeur tasting, welcoming 100 customers to our cellars beneath central Bristol. We tasted samples of about 60 different wines, ranging from Petit Chateaux right up to the lofty heights of Domaine de Chevalier, Angelus and Rauzan Segla.  For me, it was great to be able to re-visit the wines for the first time since early April.  The formiddable tannin of the vintage was certainly in evidence but the fruit concentration is such that they were surprisingly fun to taste.


None of the major chateaux have released their wines yet but we are starting to hear stirrings from some of our favourite properties further down the pecking order.  These are well worth a look as, especially in top vintages, they provide excellent drinking, don't take a generation to reach maturity and - unlike the 1st growths - don't necessitate a re-mortgage.  I tasted through these last night and was particularly impressed by both Beaumont and Gigault - I'm sure that anyone who came to our Gigault dinner with the owner earlier this year will be delighted to have a case of the 2010 in the cellar.

Chateau Cissac 2010 Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois - £95/cs EP
A long-standing favourite of Averys customers and a bastion of traditional, savoury claret.  The last couple of vintages seem to have seen a slight change in the style at Cissac, keeping the ageworthy structure but with greater fruit purity and riper tannins, giving a more sophisticated and elegant result.

Chateau Beaumont 2010 Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois - £99/cs EP
I think this is a delicious Beaumont.  The chateau is just south of Margaux and this really does have a Margaux-esque character.  It has a fragrant, red-fruit aroma with fresh blackcurrant notes on the palate, a lovely cool, silky texture and some floral characters on the finish.  I scored this a very respectable 17-/20 and it punches far above its £99 price tag.

Chateau Gigault 'Cuvee Viva' 2010 Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux - £120/cs EP
This has got to be the best property in Blaye.  Stephane Derenoncourt has consulted here since 1996 and last night the ripe, glossy fruit and rich texture really shone through.  The 1998 we drank at our Gigault dinner demonstrated that the wines can age elegantly too, and for rather longer than Mr Parker seems to think.
A consistent overachiever, Gigault Cuvee Viva’s 2010 (100% Merlot fashioned under the guidance of Stephane Derenoncourt) was made from yields of 25 hectoliters per hectare and achieved 14% natural alcohol. Fat and plump, it offers abundant aromas of coffee beans, plum sauce and black cherry jam as well as a lush, hedonistic personality. Although not complex, it delivers lots of fruit, glycerin and thrills. Enjoy it over the next 3-4 years. 88-90pts - Robert Parker

Chateau Cambon la Pelouse 2010 Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois - £135/cs EP
This is a gorgeous little wine in 2010 with a really impressive core of sweet, ripe fruit wrapped in an elegant structure.  Like Beaumont, the vineyard is near Margaux and they produce wines very much in the style of that commune.  I recently found a bottle of 2000 in my cellar that had opened up beautifully and really exceeded expectations.

A major sleeper of the vintage from this 100-acre vineyard near Cantemerle and Giscours, the 2010 is a blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot produced under the guidance of well-known consultant, Claude Gros. An opaque ruby/purple color is followed by sweet black raspberry, black cherry and black currant fruit notes intermixed with notions of licorice and graphite. Medium to full-bodied and supple textured, this sexy Bordeaux should be consumed over the next 5-8 years. 89-92pts - Robert Parker

Chateau Bourgneuf 2010 Pomerol - £295/cs EP
Mr Parker doesn't like this wine very much, but please ignore him.  It's part of the J-P Moueix stable of chateaux and, unusually for them, is in a particularly opulent and richly textured style. I've tasted it twice now with consistent notes and scores: Complex, spicy nose with sweetly toasted oak notes.  The palate is glossy and highly polished with sweet, ripe fruit.  The style is really rich and hedonistic but, despite the low acidity, this pulls off all that decadence and manages to remain balanced.  17.5/20 - MH.

As ever, please let me know if you're tempted to put any of these in the cellar but also, please do give me a call if you'd like to discuss the 2010 vintage or express interest in any of the major wines.

You can also visit our Bordeaux 2010 En Primeur website (www.averys.com/bordeaux2010) for the latest releases, John Averys vintage report, critics' scores and more.

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